CLINTON —  For two Clinton nurses, being named among the 2015 100 Great Iowa Nurses is an unexpected but humbling recognition.

Kara Spooner, of Mercy Medical Center, and Emily Randolph, of the Clinton Community School District, on May 3 will travel to Des Moines with friends and loved ones to celebrate their accomplishment in the 11th annual celebration of Iowa nurses, during none other than nurses week.

Though Spooner is thrilled to be acknowledged by the statewide organization, she feels there were many more deserving nominees than herself, something her colleagues and nominator Mary Meyer expected from the modest Spooner.

“I work with a lot of great nurses so to be among the top 100 in the state is very humbling; it’s kind of awkward actually,” said Spooner with a laugh. “There are a lot of people that I work with that are much more deserving of this than I am.”

The selection panel for the 100 Great Iowa Nurses did not agree. Spooner and Randolph were selected from a pool of 350 honorees that represented 36 Iowa counties because of their concern for humanity, their contribution to the community and the nursing profession, and their leadership and mentoring. 

As a Clinical and Professional Development Specialist, leadership and education is Spooner’s number one responsibility at Mercy Medical Center. It is her department that encourages nurses to continue their education, gaining all the knowledge they can in the medical field to better their lives and the care provided to patients at Mercy.

While Randolph’s involvement with leadership may not apply to professionals in the medical field, she plays a key role in developing something just as important — the community’s youth.

Throughout her medical career, Randolph has worked in a variety of different settings including the Genesis Emergency Department in DeWitt and at Mercy with Spooner. None of it compares she said to the work she does now and the surprises she encounters on a daily basis from the students at Eagle Heights.

“Working at a hospital you know what patients you’re going to see and though sometimes things happen that are unexpected, you have an idea what’s going on,” Randolph said. “Here (Eagle Heights) you have to try and decipher what happened. You get a kid in here crying, with a bump or something you’ve got to depend on them to tell you what happened. It’s a lot of reading between the lines.”

Earning the 100 Great Iowa Nurses honor isn’t something new to the nurses in Clinton. Spooner and Randolph join a long list of nurses in the community who have been named to the elite group, proving something both have known all along; that Clinton is filled with noteworthy individuals in the medical field.

“There is a great nursing and medical community in Clinton, and it’s nice to see it being recognized,” Spooner said.

Barbara Hanrahan of Genesis Hospice in DeWitt also was named as one of the 100 Great Iowa Nurses for 2015.

Clinton Herald Staff Writer Amy Kent can be contacted at


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